Date of Graduation
Impelled by research deficits identified by previous researchers, the relation between marital conflict and child adjustment was investigated within a repertoire-based paradigm to yield a more complete understanding of the etiology and maintenance of child adjustment problems. Specific parental and child affective, cognitive, and motoric conflict repertoires were obtained via an analogue task, and were related to 10 to 13 year olds' internalizing and externalizing problems. The correspondence between parental and child conflict repertoires was examined, as were the relations between intra-individual affective, cognitive, and motoric conflict responses. Findings further elucidated the relation between marital conflict and child psychopathology; specific maternal and child predictors of child behavioral problems were identified. Physical aggression and poor emotional regulation by mothers was found to significantly predict child adjustment problems. Child responses that predicted internalizing problems included child affective arousal, low rates of child aggression, and the perception of low rates of inter-parental positive communication. The latter variable constituted the sole child predictor of externalizing problems. Notably, child conflict repertoires contributed unique variance to the prediction of child adjustment problems, after statistically controlling for parental conflict variables. Thus it appears that child conflict repertoires should receive further research attention within the marital conflict/child adjustment literature. Regarding the etiology of child conflict repertoires, findings provided some support for social learning theory's assertion that children utilize behavioral strategies employed by their parents: Moderate to large positive associations were found between corresponding maternal and child affective, cognitive, and motoric conflict repertoires. Future directions for treatment and research within this area are discussed in light of the current findings.
Beach, Beverley Kim, "The relation between marital conflict and child adjustment: An examination of parental and child repertoires." (1995). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8456.